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Qandeel Baloch

A Pakistani model who recently posted photographs of herself with a Muslim cleric on social media has been killed.

Police said on July 16 that they are investigating allegations that Qandeel Baloch, 26, was killed by her brother as an “honor” killing over the photographs.

It was not immediately clear when Baloch was killed.

Police officer Sultan Azam told AFP that Baloch was “strangled to death” in an apparent “honor” killing.

Many conservatives were shocked by the photos showing Balock and Mufti Qavi allegedly having soft drinks and cigarettes together during daylight hours during the holy month of Ramadan, when devout Muslims abstain from food and drink during the day.

Qavi denied wrongdoing and said he only met with Baloch to discuss Islam.

Hundreds of Pakistani women are killed each year by relatives who accuse them of violating conservative social or religious norms.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP
The so-called Zenit-Arena stadium in St. Petersburg is said to be 85 percent complete. (file photo)

The Russian city of St. Petersburg has canceled a contract for the construction of a stadium that is scheduled to host matches during the 2018 World Cup soccer championships.

The city made the announcement on July 15, saying that some $39 million allocated for the stadium was unaccounted for. City authorities have asked prosecutors to investigate the Inzhtransstroi-SPB construction firm that has been overseeing the project.

The stadium, given the provisional name Zenit arena after the city's main soccer team, has been nearly a decade in the making and currently has a total estimated cost of $620 million. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently called the project "disgraceful."

In a statement on July 14, Inzhtransstroi-SPB said it wants to complete the 68,000-seat stadium by the end of the year, "but the city administration is doing everything to derail the completion of the project on time."

Vadim Tyulpanov, chairman of the parliamentary commission overseeing preparations for the 2018 World Cup, said the city's decision could mean that St. Petersburg will not be able to host the 2017 Federations Cup as planned.

"If the stadium is not commissioned in December, we won’t be able to host the tournament in June," he said.

He added that the project is currently 85 percent complete.

Based on reporting by Vesti, Interfax, AP, and TASS

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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